I SEE YOU

As always, you come to the end of the wave. The rush is over as the force dissipates beneath you, leaving you behind in the frothy surface. Hello..?

Making a decision to act can be a lot like surfing. I decide to go for it (whatever ”it” is), paddle hard, catch the wave, stand up, find my balance and try to adapt to the movement – until the wave throws me of or rolls away. A split second of uncertainty follows, then, sitting up on my board again I have this happy feeling in my body, telling me that I did after all surf that one. The ocean and the waves all look the same, repeating infinitely, but the feeling of success lingers.

Anyways.

It’s fun, comparing different parts of your life, different sides of your personality. I have just decided to act upon an old, hmm, instinct of mine? I’ve just pledged to become a regenerative small scale farmer. The feeling that I belong to the land, to the biosphere, and that I should devote my life to regenerating the ecosystems, it goes deeper then everything else. And so perhaps, perhaps using the word ”instinct” is correct.

After making the decision to become that person, the grower and the stewardess, I relax. I throw my fists in the air, let go of the wave and sink back into the ocean. Making a decision is hard work and I need a break. I read the news, read about different projects, read about what other people have accomplished. Mostly positive, solutions oriented stuff within the frame of climate change and how to address it. It’s nice to see what else is happening outside my little nomadic sphere of right now.

Suddenly, I can sense a shift. The warm fuzziness of achievement is evaporating and a sort of fearful nervousness is creeping into my emotions. Like a hunter I step back and watch, scouting this intruder. Grrrr… I lounge at it and pin it down. Ha!

Oh fear, fuck of! I see you. I SEE YOU. You’re here because I’ve made a decision to act on a small scale and you don’t think that’s good enough. We’ll let me tell you something, you’re wrong. Dead wrong. Because if I don’t start here, with something that I can manage without running myself over, I’m never going to be able to scale up this regenerative plan I’m holding.

Hey fear, I see you and I know you from before. You’ve been part of my decision making process for a long time, interrupting and pushing for unrealistic goals, or rather – pushing for super-fast achievement of huge goals.

E r r o r. Not. Possible.

Subconsciously I’ve been so afraid of not being enough. Of not doing enough. Of being that sucker who saw it all happening yet did nothing or too little to prevent all coming generations of life from suffering.

But how do we measure these things, our actions in relation to the health of the biosphere? We’re all different and can accomplish different things within our lifetime. I for one thought you had to go big or go home. That in the end what mattered surely wasn’t how much money you had in the bank but how much good you had done for The One & Only Planet. Did you save it? No? Shame on you!

But now…

My feelings regarding personal responsibility have changed, they’re still demanding but not overly so. I’m a human, a person who only knows so much, who only has the experience of my own life to count on, and who can no longer be fooled by myself into thinking that what I do is not enough.

I’m doing just fine, because I am doing all I can. Own it, Klara.

I’m trusting myself evermore as the years pass by. I read what I’ve written at different stages of my life and the core of it has always been the same. Help the planet. So why worry about not doing enough when clearly I’m devoting everything that I am to making that happen? Not tomorrow, but in the long run.

I can start small and keep evolving.

I will start small and keep evolving.

Adiós, fear, see you round. You’ve been very helpful in your own way.

Farewell competitive freediving

One can only do so many things at one given time. To me that’s been a tough lesson to learn. I love keeping all my different ideas afloat, giving them a push every now and then and never quite saying no to the though of acting on them. It can be frustrating for those close to me and now I’ve come to terms with that it might actually be holding me back. For many years it was a functional and fruitful way of living, right now it’s not.

So.

I’ve decided to let one of my most long lived dreams go to rest: To be a professional freediver. To compete, get sponsorships and teach freediving. To have my life circling around the ocean through this sport.

I think that deep down it was never really something that I wanted to do, but the thought of it was so… alluring. To be that strong athlete, focused and calm, with a clear purpose.

After 14 years of on-and-off training and competing, ranking at best as 3rd in the world, participation in five world championships, setting Swedish records, completing dozens of competition dives and thousands of training dives, I’m now officially saying farewell to the arena of competitive freediving.

Just as freediving once was key to setting me free and setting me apart, giving me that edge I so strongly needed, it is now keeping part of me hostage. I want to keep diving, I just want to undo my ties to the competitive side. If the thought of training for another word championship is going to keep popping up in my mind, I’m going to keep toying with that idea, putting my energy into the field of freediving, when what I really want to do right now is to root myself even more in my chosen field of work as a food-growing gardener and steward of resilient ecosystems.

Thank you all, it’s been a splash, and I could never ever have done it without you ?

You can always invite me along as your mascot ?

Be the change?

Writing. An activity best undertaken alone. But I am not alone. And so I write only short stories, jotting down thoughts from the small events shaping my everyday experience. These are valuable little texts, nuggets of information telling the story of who I am right now.

In between all of those texts I guess there’s a larger picture to be found, but it annoys me a bit that I’m not writing about that too.

The medium of Instagram, which is my main channel for now, is helpful and limiting at the same time. It’s contemporary in its essence, speedy and fast, forever flowing with new input, new pictures, new stories. I like that flow, like to stay in touch with all these different minds sharing parts of themselves through photos and texts.

But.

It’s just that I also set out on this journey with the intention to write. A lot. Long pieces providing my view on stuff like permaculture, urban food production and regenerative agriculture. Where are those texts hiding? Do I have anything to say? I wish not to speak what I have to say but to write it, to provide for a timescale which allows a maturing process to take place. I thought I would have more space for theses weaving, organic, interconnecting thoughts than I currently do, and so it bothers me a bit. I feel like I’m not doing my part.

At the same time, I couldn’t care less. Each day spent in nature gives me so much. Each day melting occurs inside me, layer after layer of ethically induced intentions dripping away. I’m shedding thoughts, not knowing what will be found underneath. It’s a deconstructing process, becoming aware of which ideas that are truly mine and which have been given to me through a cultural indoctrination. Who am I but a simple human being? Who am I but a person living? Who am I to believe I have opinions worth voicing and pushing forth?

I grew tired of Klara the Orator. She had to be always witty, clever, informed and charming. She gave hope to those who were looking for alternatives but she gave too much.

Now she has become an everyday philosopher, pursuing her ideals through writing while hiding in the open, gorging herself with a high intake of Nature. It seems to be working quite well. It feels good.

Is that because there is no home ground to bounce of from again and again? No constant that pleases or disturbs me? Nothing I feel that it is my job to take care of?
The ever-changing nature of the nomadic pattern is very forgiving in the sense that the only constants are created by me and my traveling companions. What food we eat, what time we get up, how many days we climb vs rest. Being on the road I am confined to a small bubble. Sure, we relate to the outside world all the time but we are mere visitors in the places we come to. We have no means to interact on any deeper level.

And so, something is shifting and changing inside me. I’m not sure I recognize myself, but I am aware that it has been my intention for a few years now to slow down and be a bit less aggressive. The pace I used to have had served its purpose, and now I have yet to become familiar with the Klara of today.

In the periphery of my mind I can sense that I’m worried that I won’t be enough when slowing down. That I won’t accomplish good things. That my life will flow away and leave me behind, working on some mundane task better suited for a non-philosopher who has less ambition to be a change maker.

Maybe it’s the feeling of loosing your purpose. Not that I feel fully lost, I’m just stumbling while looking to find the right path. I’m in the area of knowledge where I want to be: Horticulture, geology, ecology, but how do I want to manifest the work I can do? Gardening? Project managing? Guiding? Farming? Studying?

Trying to make a mind map figuring out the options I get frustrated. It’s like I don’t want to want all these different things anymore. It’s fucking complicated being a curious mind. I just want to dig in and do good, but w h e r e? This is when it would be good to have a mentor or someone else to pick the dilemma apart with and then put it back together in a slightly different order. I like the thinking, the questioning, the twisting and turning, but it needs to leed somewhere.

Here I am, sitting on a balcony of a small alpine hut in the middle of the Rockies. Taking the day of from the others, spending time with myself. Giving space for the kind of thinking that I used to occupy myself with back home much more frequently, but now thinking ”What good is it?”

Why do I try to think about what to do in April next year when it’s only July? Because I’m me. This is who I am, who I’ve been. Maybe I’m changed, maybe not. Maybe when coming home I’ll drop right back into being the same person as when I left, but I don’t think so and I don’t hope so.

This journey, I want for it to change me. Why else make it happen?

 

A fulfilling, non-judgemental lifestyle

How hard can it be to find a fulfilling, non-judgemental lifestyle?

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An everlasting question, I suppose. It’s very hard.

Part of my answer is this, that every time I have devoted my time to a physically and mentally challenging objective, situated in nature, I have felt that I am doing e x a c t l y what I am meant to be doing. The question marks regarding the meaning of life still arise during the quest, but also fade swiftly and leave me content with what is.

I long for that feeling, cherish its simplicity.

image

In daily life, setting myself up with work related challenges where the scene is a man affected landscape such as a city, I seldom feel that I am fully at ease with what I’m doing. There are so many moral aspects of life in the presence of other human beings. I find it hard to step away from the fact that I am a privileged person with potential power, thus morally obliged to search for A Better Way Of Living and to share the multiple answers with others. I am doing my best to be here and now and at the same time allow myself to continuously zoom out further and further, to be able to se more clearly what values have been instilled in me and which of these values I can choose to reject. This seems important to me; a hobby philosopher, deeply entrenched by a moral and ethical code which I can sense is out of date and probably of target.

I do not wish to be part of a destructive society today at the age of 32 anymore then when I first started to formulate my own ideas and thoughts on the subject at the age of 14, but thankfully the time passed has given me a more humble attitude in relation to the definition of a Destructive Society. The world really isn’t nearly as fucked up as I thought it was in my late teens. The world has probably never been fucked up and will never be fucked up. Who could objectively judge in that matter? Yes, we have gazillions of problems in our human society, but we are most likely not moving backwards even if the conservative right wing movement is strong these days.

Understanding at an ever deeper level the effect of being an organism which lives in an unfolding, evolving cultural flow, my mind keeps reaching for simplicity. For the greater picture. For the underlying patterns. For liberation.

Liberation. Ha!

Yes. I’ve never thought of that before. I wish to find answers to all my questions, to become liberated, free at last.

Foto: Aleksander Nordahl

Liberated from the human context? Hmm. No. More likely liberated from the cultural, historical context which pushes down on my mental sphere like a warm wool blanket, a muffling gray, made of thousands and thousands of separate strands of thoughts passed down by generations. A felted mess that I’m trying to untangle and rid myself of, because I can not stand n o t trying to do it. I aim for the stars, wish to have their far away perspective on this global society of ours.

The blissful here-and-now kind of mentality that I appreciate and can glide into when in nature, alone or with likeminded persons, can at other times make me furious when I’m interacting with random people. If they too are applying this mentality but in a way that displeases my moral self, my grand moral monster gets angry. If I have an underlying feeling that these persons are acting disrespectful towards the Earth and its ecosystems simply by not putting an effort into thinking new thoughts which allows them to widen their perception of life, of this magically interesting universe, I want to shake them and m a k e them think.

Come ON, think harder! Stop limiting yourself!

But I don’t do that. I can’t do that. I know the moral monster is not very good at judging others in an objective way. It’s so pumped up with fiery morally induced feelings that it itself is acting exactly like the persons in front of it, the persons it wants to shake. The moral monster is a rather stupid part of me. It does give me fire and strength to keep on looking for possible answers, but it also dumbs me down.

For now, one of my largest personal mental quests is to harness that part of myself, the moral monster, so that I peacefully can take another good look at society and the people creating it.

At the same time I’ll be enjoying the simplicity of freediving at an elite level for an extended period of time, attending the World Championships in a few weeks time. That’ll get me right into the flow of emptying the mind, so that afterwards I have made room for new philosophical endeavors.

 

As always, to be continued…

Rethinking ethics

Flying. Not totally comfortable with getting on a plane, to go somewhere just for fun, just for meeting another person. There is a heavy ethical and moral debate taking place deep within whenever I make decisions which seem not to comply with my own ethics.
Interestingly, the last two years something inside me has shifted. I am no longer as certain about my old ideals. My core is the same, but I have furthered my understanding of the world both on a anthropological and scientific scale. I believe I might be on my way to the next level of ethical thinking, which for me is an enormous gift in relation to personal development and mental relaxation.

This old idea of mine (and others) of living an ethically correct life seems to mean very different things depending on at what scale I as a person would like to operate. If I decide to act locally as a change maker to be able to move few resources and keep my carbon footprint down, then flying is out of the equation. Whatever I do to live and act out this local life will then probably also have a mostly local effect from a socially interactive perspective, and therefore a limited effect on a planetary scale.

That’s ok.

I could chose that way of life. It would make perfect sense to work with what I have at an arms length and make the best of it. I’m very glad that there are millions of people who have decided that this is their way of life, because that means there are millions of people acting as change making hubs on a local scale, with tools such as permaculture, the transition movement, circular economy, agroecology, chaos pilots etc. They bring others along and provide the social glue needed for a persisting, viable change.

I am at times one of these millions of local human hubs, guiding and teaching, but I am also at times one of the global bumblebees, who during their nomadic flights cross pollinate ideas and cultures and values, and thereby draft new iterations of who we are and what we are supposed to do with our lives, from a Homo sapiens perspective.
If I decide that I want to be this change making bumblebee and act on an intra- or intercontinental scale, then I will need to circle more resources through the system. I will most likely need to fly every now and then, not with my own wings but in an airplane. To reach a higher level of influence I need to not limit my own energy usage in the same way as I do when I act on a local scale. If I can’t funnel energy, I can’t have a great outreach. (Remember, we can’t really ”use up” energy, we can only transform it. The concept of exergy comes to mind, but let’s not go there now). Not even with this World Wide Web at my fingertips can I accomplish as much online as I can in flesh. This is also ok, but the scope of it is so much larger that it took me many more years to understand.

However, even though I can find a logic in why it is ok not to go Toyota on my own life, when acting on this continental bumblebee level there is an automated, instant feed back loop hardwired into my brain that tells me I’m a BAD PERSON!!! I’m a naughty ecosystem destroyer. I’m a cancer. I’m an abuser and overuser. Why should I be allowed to use more than my share, more than others? Doing ”good” is not a reason strong enough to override a taxing usage.

It is very, very hard to put that emotional reaction under scrutiny of my own logical brain, but at the times when I manage to do so I find a cluster of semi emotional- semi science based assumptions that seem to steer my actions. These assumptions seem to stem from a mixture of childhood memories, facts learnt in grade school, truths from my young adulthood… An internal, old school mirror of the society and the people I grew up with. I might have been a tabula rasa at my conception, but the blankness swiftly got scribbled over by me and others. I am of course me; I am also a logical iteration of this universe, of this planetary biosphere. I am unique but not very different. My ethics and truths are not mine but ours. In this societal age, climate change is the driving factor behind many personal sets of ethics, and I got I inoculated with these at an early age. (Unfortunately, the persons who gave me this strong sense of right or wrong couldn’t also provide me with the tools I needed for a life of regenerative work. I’m glad I’ve found a way forward on this arena myself, after three decades of searching).

When I get hit by the BAD PERSON emotions, I try to confront them, try to get inside them, try to see if they are worth being felt as ”truths” anymore. It’s my way of hitting back, of using a more scientific approach to unveil a potential falsity within myself. There is no point anymore in acting as an ethical slave in relation to ethics which in some cases have already gone out of date. Things do change. I’m a fan of dynamics, of acknowledging the fact that nothing is ever static, that the universe move from chaos to order over and over again, and so do I. History tells me that what someone thought was right and wise to do years ago often turned out to be a destructive choice. I can never ever know what impact I will have on life on this planet in the long rung, but I sure do my best at guessing, and then second guessing myself, striving for simplicity and a caring lifestyle.

What I dream of now is to use energy to gain momentum, to shift over to the next gear and ride the change effortlessly, like cruising with a bike through a warm summers eve. I will still be an ethical activist, will probably have a new set of assumptions to scrutinize, will always be annoyingly full of questioning thoughts, ready for the next level of thinking whenever I can reach it. I dream of an underwater garden, of a food hub, of a piece of land by the sea with a regenerative food producing system in place.

There’s a picture in my mind, I’ve seen it painted by many artists, of a foot leaving the ground and under it is a green, lush, growing space full of life. It’s a good metaphor of the Positive Footprint. I like it. I zoom out and I see that the other foot has stepped on something else, has had a potential negative footprint, but the total sum of these footprints is still positive. Positive. More than before.

I’ve given myself permission to live more grandly again, to do things which make me happy but has no thought of purpose for the rest of the ecosystem, after understanding that if I put a lot of energy into healing the planet, the biosphere will respond. So I get to be both egocentric and ecocentric. If it doesn’t respond, then in a billion years no organism of today will know or care anyway. Planet Earth will most likely still be here, but we humans won’t. The squirrels will be gone, the whales and oak trees to. The continents will have moved into a new pattern, climate changing with the movement. Life is dynamic. I embrace that fact and things fall into place.